Question — and Answers

Answers here and on Facebook to the question asked me by one of my readers, “Why do Americans claim their original or ancestral nationality along with being American?” after reading my St. Patrick’s day post about my being Irish American

Here are the Facebook answers I got:

One friend wrote: Many Americans still practice traditions that came across the oceans with their ancestors. It’s part of what makes us Americans in my opinion. As the supposed “melting pot” we combine a multitude of ethnicity into our American culture. Most big American cities have restaurants with every possible cuisine. My local Orthodox Greek Church has a Greek festival every year. La Veta has a Huajatolla Heritage Festival every year. I don’t have to be of Mexican heritage to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or be Irish to have fun on St. Patrick’s Day.

My German step-daughter-in-law wrote: I’ve always found that curious as well. 🤷‍♀️ That said… I hope all my descendants here will always say they are German-American.

Another thought it was a good question. Another said that she thought her mother didn’t make a big deal of where she came from because it was WW II and she wanted to put her origins behind her. I’ve seen that happen a lot among recent immigrants that I’ve taught. I know that some people don’t want to be from the places they are from either because they fear discrimination or they hated it there. 🙂

Another very thoughtful response: In theory, we are a melting pot but in actuality, we aren’t. We don’t melt. We carry our previous heritage(s) around like flags and wave them with enthusiasm. I don’t know that they do this in England. We do it here. In Israel, it’s actively encouraged. They want people to keep traditions alive. I think this varies from country to country. Some places make it a big deal to urge groups to hold on to traditions. Others countries prefer everyone to form a unified group. We really DO encourage it here, even though in theory, we don’t. We have parades and special holidays for all kinds of ethnic background. It’s just as well. This is too big a country to make one giant polyglot.

Another friend wrote: Because we’re not Native Americans.

She has a point.

The answer is…

It’s pretty deep.

I hope you’re ready.

Some do claim their ancestral heritage, some don’t, but we all like the parties.

Question —

Got in a bit of a dispute with a British reader over why Americans refer to themselves as “Irish-American” (for example) mentioning their ancestral nationality. I weighed in on this but I don’t think she got it, or I was unclear or didn’t get the point of her question.

I’d love to read your responses (and she might, also) in the comments if you are American and you (occasionally) do this.

Morning Chat with Dusty T. Dog

“But I’m not bold, Human.”

“Not true, Dusty. You’re VERY bold.”

“No. I’m scared all the time. That’s why I’m so barky and aggressive.”

“I know that, Dusty. But if you weren’t scared, you wouldn’t need to be bold. Bear’s not bold. She’s friendly and fierce, but she’s never afraid. Fear makes you bold. You have to overcome that and it takes courage, boldness. You know what Hemingway said.”

“No. How would I know what Hemingway said? I’m a dog. I’d rather be like Bear and just get pets.”

“You do that, Dusty. You’ve gotten really good at it.”

“But I have to bark like a, like a, what’s the rating on your blog, Human?”

“‘R’ for language, I think.”

“OK. Well, I have to bark like a mother…”

“A hound from Hell, Dusty, let’s just go with that.”

“That sounds good. But I’m not a ‘hound from hell’. You know that, right?”

“I know that.”

“Where did you go with my sister yesterday when you left me behind?”

“We went on a long walk. We couldn’t take you because we went too far for you.”

“It sucks getting old, doesn’t it, Martha?”

“Yeah, Dusty, but the alternative isn’t great, either.”

“I’m VERY old for a big dog. The vet said so. Is it true?”

“Yep, you are, Dusty, but you’re in great shape.”

“Probably my morning coffee. Did you see anything good on your walk?”

“Yeah. There were lots of cranes off in the distance.”

“Did you see them? I know you like seeing them.”

“No, but they were noisy, cooing and purring softly. Then they got VERY loud. I looked up and there was an eagle circling above them. I watched for a while, but it didn’t seem that the eagle thought his chances were great.”

“Do you think the eagle got some dinner?”

“I hope so. Eagles get hungry, too. Then when we were walking on the ditch bank there were robins and bluebirds. Oh and a redwing blackbird.”

“I wish I could have been there.”

“Me too, Dusty. I’ll figure out a way for you to go that isn’t so far, OK?”

“I love you, Human.”

“I love you, Sweet Boy.”


I’m Irish American. It was a long unnecessary road for me to find this out for certain, but there you have it. Yeah, there are some Swiss guys in the wood pile back there and a few Scandihoovians, but the final word from Ancestry DNA is that I’m Irish, well, Irish, Scots, Welsh and so on. The vast majority of ancestral ingrediments in this little person is Celt.

It came as no surprise. I was raised to be proud of me Irish heritage, tinking der was none better, no foiner ting. I was raised wit’ a love of poetry and god knows there’ve been far too many whiskey drinkers in me family (not me by da grace of God). I’ve been in an Irish bar, a bar in San Diego frequented pretty much exclusively by Irish ex-pats, and asked by a drunken Irishman, “Aye, Martha Kennedy is it. When were you last home?” Home being the “Ould Sod.” My date was an Irishman, former student, an expert in drinking a lot and taking cabs from bar to bar. It was an interesting night, but I could drive home.

So what? Well, in the writing of The Price I learned stuff about being Irish that I hadn’t known before. Poor Irish and prisoners of war were put on ships and sold as slaves in the colonies, most often Barbadoes and Virginia. One of these was one of my ancestors, a Scots/Irishman named Ninian Beall. Who knew? Nobody teaches us this. The more recent ones came during “the starving” and lived in Canada and northern New York. My great-grandad worked on ships on the Great Lakes. It was then he met my great-grandma, an Irish/Finnish French speaking woman from Quebec.

The Last Pure Irishman in me family, Thomas Kennedy

I don’t know what this ancestry stuff means other than it’s a lot of interesting stories and some useful information about our physical beings. Early onset hip degeneration is an Irish thing. Me brother, other Irish/American friends and I had hip replacements at a comparatively young age.

But…maybe there’s more to it. I dunna’ tink dares any poetry to compare to Irish poetry and me special favorite is William Butler Yeats.

Never give all the Heart


Never give all the heart, for love 
Will hardly seem worth thinking of 
To passionate women if it seem 
Certain, and they never dream 
That it fades out from kiss to kiss; 
For everything that’s lovely is 
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight. 
O never give the heart outright, 
For they, for all smooth lips can say, 
Have given their hearts up to the play. 
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love? 
He that made this knows all the cost, 
For he gave all his heart and lost.

The Song of Wandering Aengus

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATSI went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

And my own favorite, and the reason to continue writing books hardly anyone reads:

The Song of the Happy Shepherd

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATSThe woods of Arcady are dead, 
And over is their antique joy; 
Of old the world on dreaming fed; 
Grey Truth is now her painted toy; 
Yet still she turns her restless head: 
But O, sick children of the world, 
Of all the many changing things 
In dreary dancing past us whirled, 
To the cracked tune that Chronos sings, 
Words alone are certain good. 
Where are now the warring kings, 
Word be-mockers? — By the Rood
Where are now the warring kings? 
An idle word is now their glory, 
By the stammering schoolboy said, 
Reading some entangled story: 
The kings of the old time are dead; 
The wandering earth herself may be 
Only a sudden flaming word, 
In clanging space a moment heard, 
Troubling the endless reverie.

Then nowise worship dusty deeds, 
Nor seek, for this is also sooth, 
To hunger fiercely after truth, 
Lest all thy toiling only breeds 
New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth 
Saving in thine own heart. Seek, then, 
No learning from the starry men, 
Who follow with the optic glass 
The whirling ways of stars that pass — 
Seek, then, for this is also sooth, 
No word of theirs — the cold star-bane 
Has cloven and rent their hearts in twain, 
And dead is all their human truth. 
Go gather by the humming sea 
Some twisted, echo-harbouring shell,
And to its lips thy story tell, 
And they thy comforters will be, 
Rewarding in melodious guile 
Thy fretful words a little while, 
Till they shall singing fade in ruth 
And die a pearly brotherhood; 
For words alone are certain good: 
Sing, then, for this is also sooth. 

I must be gone: there is a grave 
Where daffodil and lily wave, 
And I would please the hapless faun, 
Buried under the sleepy ground, 
With mirthful songs before the dawn. 
His shouting days with mirth were crowned; 
And still I dream he treads the lawn, 
Walking ghostly in the dew, 
Pierced by my glad singing through, 
My songs of old earth’s dreamy youth: 
But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou! 
For fair are poppies on the brow: 
Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.

And some fun with an Irish Band.

Erin go Bragh, from long ago and far away.

More Bad Weather; Bailing Out Whole Towns

This Cyclonic Blizzard has wreaked havoc in Nebraska, but “our” President is worried about the “phony Dossier” and is slamming John McCain (RIP) rather than offering concrete help to bail out the farmers and ranchers whose farms are under water or the towns which have been destroyed.

Meanwhile, a woman in Columbus, NE, is attempting to garner support and sympathy by claiming to be one of “the deplorables” living in a “fly over” zone.

Dear friends outside of our Nebraska bubble: we are hurting. We are flooding. As in—half the state under water. Entire towns under water. Massive structures/bridges/roads are floating away. Dams breaking. Rivers jammed with and without ice are overflowing. In our town, we are an island. No ways in or out right now. And this is not a problem that only our town has—there are too many around us to mention. The devastation is simply indescribable. Lives are being lost. Livelihoods are being washed away. 

We are a “flyover” state. We are the “deplorables.” We are “not for everyone.” We are not newsworthy and I have yet to see or read one article on national news about our devastation. That’s heartbreaking because I can’t begin to describe the stories of heroism of farmers trying to save their animals, strangers helping strangers, and rescuers fighting extreme elements to save lives. But I can tell you this, we are strong. We pray. We care about one another. We help our neighbors. I’m proud to be from here. I’m sad to know that it’ll take years to recover from this. But the sun is out today and the winds have calmed (compared to yesterday, at least). The next few weeks and months will be rough and we can all really use your prayers and support. 

These pics are around our town, Columbus, NE. Personally, our home is not indanger.

When I read that yesterday I wanted to get in my private jet and set this woman straight. I wanted to shake her and say, “Look, Sweetcheeks, if this is what you believe, you have a bigger problem than a wet basement.” The message behind her message is, well…

I happen to know Columbus, Nebraska well. That’s the first thing. Second, “the deplorables” was a deplorable comment made by Hillary Clinton during her campaign for president in 2016. Many of us who voted for her didn’t like her and found that comment deplorable. It was one of the reasons I had to hold my nose when I filled in my ballot. Third, the woman who wrote this is claiming to be a victim because she lives in a “fly over state” and is a Trump voter. So much of what’s wrong with this country is laid out in her plea for help.

She is REALLY a victim of a historic storm that was likely caused by climate change which President Trump denies even exists.

That doesn’t change the fact that Nebraska is one of those places many Americans don’t know much about. I lived there for the six happiest years of my childhood and yesterday, reading of these floods in towns that were once familiar to me, I felt very sad. Nebraska really IS the “breadbasket of America” — cattle, corn and wheat make up large parts of its economy — and our diets. In my memory, the people are far from “deplorable.”

My Nebraska hometown — Bellevue — is on the Missouri River (one of the biggest rivers in the US) and is in danger.

This Nebraska woman’s politicized plea for help is, to me, even sadder than the flood waters. They will subside. People will have lost a lot by the time that happens, but what this nation has lost in the entrenched divisiveness among the citizens is not going to subside with the help of gravity and a few sunny days.

Totalitarianism, Part 2, Espionage

China was not a “free” country.

How did totalitarianism manifest itself in my world? Mostly in the pervasive sense of paranoia and stories about the Cultural Revolution I heard from the people around me who had experienced it. Everyone had an agenda and a backstory, most of which I never learned.

For my students, there was in the “Catch 22” reality of their lives. All of them had been assigned by the government to study English, BUT English — particularly American English — was mistrusted. Not many years before, effigies of Uncle Sam had been burned in protests against the “Paper Tiger.” In weekly Political Study meetings my students took the brunt of the abuse and criticism. There was really NO WAY they could win. For example, our college held a folk dancing competition for all the students of languages (French, German, Russian, English, and Chinese). My students worked hard, practicing nightly, to have the best possible performance. We were not invited to attend which, right there, was a message that this was not a simple folk dancing competition; this was political.

If they did not deliver a great performance it would be viewed as disrespect, and they would be criticized for being lazy. If they did an excellent performance, they would be criticized for preferring “foreign things.” It was a foregone conclusion that they would lose. My students, English students, lost every competition. It didn’t matter how well they did. The Party’s message was that English, and the cultures of which it was an expression, were clearly inferior to all others. The goal was to make sure that in spite of the comparative opening of China and the advent of American teachers, the United States was not the equal of China or any other country. 

The Chinese language students always won. 

“So what?” you might ask. Imagine growing up during the end of Mao’s reign and finding yourself in a classroom in which lessons were conducted by an American. When Mao died and the Gang of Four was deposed in 1976, my senior students were twelve years old. My graduate students were teenagers, and could have marched around our very campus with the Little Red Book. My colleagues, some of them, I knew were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution and others? Had they been the persecutors of the imprisoned colleagues? 

This was the back-story of the world that fulfilled my dreams.

As foreigners, we were exempt from Political Study for obvious reasons. It was the meeting in which my students might be criticized — individually or collectively — for such things as being larger than average as in the case of one of my students who had been picked to become an Olympic swimmer, sent to a special school, fed a better diet than the average Chinese at the time, and trained. When her swimming didn’t turn out to be as great as expected, she was released from this special school and sent home. She was constantly accused of wanting to be American because she was different looking from the average Cantonese, and she had an aunt in Hong Kong who sometimes sent her clothes. Others were criticized for being pretty. Others for being outspoken. Others for their parentage. The list of possibilities is long and English language students took the brunt of it. 

While my students and colleagues sat in a room for several hours every Thursday hearing everything the “watchers” had seen during the week, being singled out and criticized, Jim and I explored Guangzhou.

Their problem was how to extend goodwill to the American teachers if doing so leaves you open for criticism and additional Political Study? How would you — as a Chinese at this moment in history — ever know you were safe enough to make friends with the American teachers?

If your family background were good enough, you had a safety net as did my friends, Zhu and Fu with whom I went to Hainan Island. I don’t know much about Zhu’s family. I suspect that somewhere back there was a successful bourgeoise shopkeeper or intellectual (read school teacher). Fu’s ancestry was perfect. He came from a poor peasant family in one of China’s most remote and impoverished provinces, Hainan Island. His mother had little or no education and had been a guerilla fighter in the anti-Japanese war against the Japanese. I don’t know what other things were involved in their being allowed to become our best friends, but I’m grateful. I loved Zhu like a sister and helped her come to America to study a couple years later. Her husband and son soon followed and, as far as I know, they didn’t return to China.

People without this kind of ancestry apparently had to be careful. That would include most of my colleagues all of whom spoke English. Some of my colleagues wanted to approach me, but didn’t dare. I was warned away from others. I was told that one woman, with whom I ended up working on a poetry translation project semi-secretly, was not to be trusted. What that actually meant to the people who warned me I have no idea. It could have meant that her background was full of intellectuals or it could have meant that she was very likely to point the finger at others in order to protect herself. 

Clearly, we didn’t socialize much with our colleagues. At first we made gestures in that direction but was usually met with, “I’m sorry, I’m too busy.” 

At first I thought, “Seriously? You teach two classes. I teach six. If I’m not too busy how are you?” but soon I learned that it meant, “No.” Socializing with them was limited to formal occasions such as my welcome dinner at the Pan Xi restaurant, my goodby dinner at the Guangzhou Restaurant, a couple of banquets held by the provincial government, a trip downtown to watch the Royal Ballet perform Sleeping Beauty, a concert in which the conductor — a man from Germany — yelled at his audience ahead of time, telling them to stay quiet while his orchestra played. I did not then understand why he felt he had to do that, but when I saw the Chines opera later, on Hainan, I understood. A performance was a social event for the Chinese, not something to watch in reverential silence.

Essentially, everyone could be or was a spy. Maybe they were a spy to protect themselves from criticism. Maybe they were a spy because they were legitimately a spy for the Party or the Wai Shi Ban (Foreigner’s Office) of the Province or the university. Maybe they were a spy because they hoped to get a good appointment when they graduated. Maybe they were a spy because they had a bad background. There were manifold reasons for spying. 

There was always the fear of talented Chinese defecting to that vague and amorphous promised land of “The West.” My students were taught in Political Study that “The West” was not all that great. They were told that many Chinese who went there ended up killing themselves in disappointment. Lonely for mythical places like their “hometown,” alienated in the great, cold, ruthless capitalist, imperialist world, they surrendered to despair. If appeals to their patriotism or fear were not enough, they knew that their family at home could suffer retribution. 

The first post-Nixon Sino/American diplomatic crisis occurred while I was in China. The Chinese tennis player, Hu Na, defected to the United States in 1982 when she came in the Federation Cup. She sought asylum in 1983 saying that if she returned to China, she would be persecuted for not joining the Chinese Communist Party. When the US granted Hu Na asylum, my students were instructed to shun me. 

I knew about Hu Na, but not how the story ended. I couldn’t read the Chinese newspapers or understand the news commentary, and no one was eager to tell me about it. I learned the story when I went to class after the all-China afternoon nap. I found my students outside the classroom batting a badminton birdie back and forth. I made a joke, “You might want to stay out here and practice.” None of my students expected that. I knew that, secretly, most of them wanted to go to America to study. I knew some of them had family in places like New York and San Francisco. All this was a shadowy undercurrent that was not brought up into daylight. They stopped, looked at me, and suddenly burst into laughter. It was real laughter. 

We went in the classroom and I said, “What happened?”

This led to a discussion about safety in America. My students had learned from Chinese newspapers that America was a very dangerous place. Chinese newspapers had learned this from American newspapers which tend to publish mostly BAD news. Chinese newspapers mostly published good news, happy stories and tales that reinforced the greatness of the Chinese model of communism. My students were worried about Hu Na, that she would leave her apartment and be murdered.

“Aren’t you afraid in America, teacher?”

“No. Why?”

“So many rapes and murders.”

I tried explaining that American newspapers published stories that were exceptional, that normal, ordinary life wasn’t interesting to their readers. I even thought — but did not say — that maybe Chinese papers did the same and good, happy stories were out of the norm, but I didn’t say it. I knew the Chinese propaganda machine well enough by then. 

Because of the ubiquity of spying, private conversations were carried out on the street. Most of the time I was completely unaware what was going on, for example when Mr. Fu — Zhu and Fu’s middle school teacher friend and our friend — wanted a Bible, Zhu negotiated the deal with me as we wandered the levees between the crops of the agriculture college. Such a conversation took place between me and Zhou, my Chinese teacher, when school was out and we visited Beijing.

Totalitarianism, Part 1, Espionage

When I decided to go to the People’s Republic of China, my mom freaked out. An American student had recently been imprisoned in Beijing for (suspected? real?) espionage. “Couldn’t you just go to China Town?” she asked, somewhat distraught, as my ex and I packed up his pick-up truck for the drive to San Francisco. His children lived in the Bay Area and he wanted to see them before we left. 

I think he was afraid, too. I know he was. When we finally arrived in Guangzhou, at the airport, away (very obviously away) from any of the things he was used to, he just collapsed, laid down on a bench in the dim waiting room. He wasn’t prepared for the reality of China, for a Russian airplane, for being met on the ground by soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army, for being questioned over whether we had religious materials with us. He wasn’t prepared for there being no one to meet us and not having any idea what to do next.

I didn’t know him very well. We married after only knowing each other four months, and I would not call a year in the PRC in 1982 an ideal honeymoon. My ex was shut down, but I was also flummoxed. “What now?” An English speaking worker at the airport phoned our college (Hua Nan Shi Fan Xue Yuan as it was then). We’d arrived a day earlier than expected. They thought we’d spend two nights in Hong Kong. I learned they couldn’t pick us up until the next day. My job then was to get a taxi big enough to carry our footlockers (and skis). 

“Where do you want to go?” asked the man at the airport.

“Bai Yun Hotel,” I said with great certainty and in Chinese. What did I know? I did know the Bai Yun Bing Guan was the closest foreigner hotel to the airport. All I knew what was what I’d read in my Fodor’s. We stayed our first night in China with our fardles in a big room in this 33 story hotel. 

It was our first easily identifiable experience with totalitarianism. I am sure others had already occurred, but with such subtlety that we didn’t notice. 

The hotel took our passports and the letter from my college when we checked in. I’m sure that they phoned the Wai Shi Ban (foreigners office) at the school to confirm our legitimacy. On our floor was a “watcher” seated at a velvet covered table. She had the keys to our room. When we left the room, we gave her our keys. When we returned, we retrieved them, opened our door and took them back to her. I wondered why we even had keys. My feelings about this might have been different from those of my ex, I don’t know, but I felt that this was the price I had to pay for being where I wanted to be, for fulfilling my dream. 

Dinner was “joak,” a rice gruel often made with chicken or with fish and served with cut up fried bread and green onion on top. Our first joak also had “thousand year old eggs” which are  pretty shocking to the unwarned, uninitiated foreign eye. As we ate this strange meal, Jim noticed a large rat skulking along the wall. To me the rat was just a promise of more adventure. To Jim it was an added dimension to a nightmare.

When morning came, there also came a “mien bao” or Toyota van (mien bao means loaf of bread which the Toyota vans of the time really did resemble) from our college to take us “home.” I was excited and happy. I do not know how my ex felt. We rode in the mien bao — in silence? Talking? I don’t remember. At our college we were met by Xiao Huang, our watcher. This lithe, slender, skinny young man of 27 or so lifted each of our footlockers up onto his back and carried them up three flights of stairs to our “flat” and there we were. Home. 

I remember that first afternoon, standing on the balcony of our large furnished apartment and looking over the fields of the agricultural college that was behind us. Under an ingenious structure that was both his shelter and food storage, stood a water buffalo. All my childhood, girlhood and young womanhood dreams came true in that moment. Whatever they were to be, I accepted the terms of the alien world that contained this vision and had opened itself to me.


I was alone on an exalted plane of acceptance and curiosity. For the rest of the world in which I had so recently arrived this was no exotic place. It was not the realization of their dreams of adventure. For my husband it was a relentless nightmare. For my students, faculty colleagues and friends it harbored dark memories, fears and anxiety over the future.

Three Views of Hope


“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Emily Dickinson


The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
      The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.

Thomas Hardy

As for me it was a long night. Dusty was agitated, I was up with him at 11, again at 1. Awakened from sleep, with no way to solve his problems, I got angry. (“You stupid, fucking dog. What do you want me to do? Out, just get out!”) Bear thought I was angry because of her, went out and wouldn’t come back in. I had to go out and persuade her in the deep cold of the dark morning. There was a 3 am clean up job. I’m not sure I want to keep writing a blog that’s more and more a recitation of events in my daily life, and that’s what this has been becoming. Opinions welcome.

In any case, I love these two poems and this scene from Clockwise is one of the funniest in any film I’ve seen.

Cyclonic Blizzard of Historic Proportions HFS!!!

If the snow hadn’t been falling so fast and relentlessly, it would have thawed the moment it hit the ground. But it fell fast and we ended up with nearly a foot (20 cm) of heavy, wet snow. Farmers in the San Luis Valley will not have go look outside for hay and pay exorbitant prices, that’s one of the good things about this. The dogs and I took a walk that afternoon, 3/12 with the sky all silver and trying to be blue, Sandhill cranes calling above the fast-moving fog, emerging, stopping me in my tracks to watch them.

The snow was still several inches deep and wet yesterday as Bear and I headed out in shimmering, blinding bright cloud reflected light across the golf course to the big empty. The tracks of a young fox — a kit — enchanted my dog and nothing enchanted me. Even the silvery light hurt my eyes. I’d been fighting a migraine for two days. I think it might have gone its own way over night, but it’s too soon to tell

Meanwhile, up north, the storm — of which our heavy, wet rapid dump was the initiating tail — is winding up what might have been the biggest blizzard in history. More than 1000 flights were canceled at Denver International Airport. Hundreds of cars (and the people in them) were stuck on the Interstate highway between Denver and Colorado Springs. (Didn’t they believe the weather forecast AT ALL??? Maybe they didn’t know what the word “blizzard” means?) and were rescued through the concerted efforts of school bus drivers, high way patrol, local cops and a snowplow.

The party isn’t over. Here’s the highway conditions map for this morning.

Red lines are closed highways and roads. Various shades of blue represent various shades of snow. Purple is high wind. The little red bubbles with the dash are warnings.

It’s been a snowy, snowy winter here in the Great American West, though a sunny, quiet morning here in the domain of Martha, Dusty and Bear. More melt, more thaw, more mud.